Here are two common situations in which many people overuse commas.
Teaching Tip: Don’t use commas as breath marks. Although commas determine where a reader might pause, the reverse is not true. A reader’s pauses do not determine comma placement.
Beginning with sentences that are correctly punctuated, have students read sentences aloud. Discuss how the punctuation is related to the sound of the sentence. Then try some example sentences that have the punctuation removed.
You can also use this strategy to help students edit their own writing. Have them read their writing aloud one sentence at a time. Discuss how they have used commas in relation to how the sentences sound.